Penn’s Research Enterprise

Vice Provost for Research Dawn A. Bonnell is responsible for facilitating Penn’s sprawling research enterprise, which consists of 12 schools, more than 165 multidisciplinary centers and institutes, and a fully incorporated health system.

The Office of the Vice Provost for Research is tasked with a wide range of duties, including implementing President Amy Gutmann’s vision for research at the University, helping set strategic directions for new research initiatives, providing facilities for Penn faculty to conduct research, and assisting them with cross-school collaboration so they can achieve an even higher degree of excellence within their schools.

“It involves the infrastructure that all of the faculty use in order to complete their research, from interacting with funding agencies, to managing resources, to using facilities, all the way to commercialization,” Bonnell says.

At Penn since 1988, Bonnell, a widely recognized leader in nanotechnology research, previously served as a professor of materials science and engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and director of Penn’s Nano/Bio Interface Center. She began her term as vice provost for research on July 1.

Bonnell says one of her goals for the office is to concentrate on the distinguishing strengths of the University and pair them with rising research developments and innovations.

“I want to look at the national trends and even international trends in research, and project where our strengths will intersect so that we lead in articulating initiatives for the country,” she says. “We’re doing that in some areas, but I would like to see us do more.”

Text by Greg Johnson
Video by Rebecca Elias Abboud and Kurtis Sensenig